10 Greatest Comedy Couples, Pt. 1


Two of the most popular movie and NBC television comedians Steve Carell (The Office) and Tina Fey (30 Rock) are joining forces for the first time in Friday’s Date Night, from Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum). Of all possible date comedy duos, none could be more promising. This is not Jennifer Anniston and Gerard Butler or Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher we’re talking about. These are two of the best in the business from the likes of Saturday Night Live and Chicago’s Second City.

So it got me thinking about some of the other great male/female comedian duos over the years be they one-time films, frequent collaborations or just two hallmark names colliding for one otherwise unmemorable film. I’ve broken this list in half, so you’ll need to check back tomorrow for the rest (and my weekend preview of Date Night)

10. Julia Roberts and Richard Gerepretty-womanFilms Together: Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride

Garry Marshall’s hooker-Cinderella story was a breakthrough for romantic comedy, bringing one of the genre’s queens into the spotlight she would eventually come to own. So despite Gere not being all that funny and Roberts not being known especially as a comedian, they’re still one of the most memorable co-ed stars to ever grace the screen. When the two re-teamed for Runaway Bride in 1999, the movie didn’t go over well, but there was certainly some buzz surrounding the Marshall-Gere-Roberts reunion. Not one of the funnier couples on the list, but certainly worthy of the Top 10.

9. Drew Barrymore & Adam SandlerbarrymoresandlermovieawardsFilms Together: The Wedding Singer, 50 First Dates

Here, on the other hand, is an example of two definite comedians who have appeared together a couple times. Both actors are a great fit: a bit nuts, hard to take seriously but they cross-over into drama and annoying at times. Both have been paired with numerous other actors or actresses, but none as genuinely goofy as when they’re together. The Wedding Singer is one of my favorite romantic comedies because it actually shows them both being funny while capturing their charms. I also have a soft spot for 50 First Dates because any film with a Groundhog Day type of premise is hard for me to resist.

8. Meg Ryan & Tom HanksyouvegotmailFilms Together: Joe Versus The Volcano, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail

I’m trying to keep the romantic comedy duos that have had long, fruitful partnerships closer to the first part of this list, so in come Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, one of the most successful romantic couples ever, both of whom are considered funny, but not primarily comedians. It began in 1990 with Joe Versus the Volcano, a bizarre movie with an even stranger premise, but blossomed in Nora Ephron’s Sleepless in Seattle (1993), which was not a comedy, but one of the defining romances of the decade. They joined Ephron again in 1998 for You’ve Got Mail, which was a big-buzz romantic comedy as well to see their reunion. Simply a duo who has collaborated on some eternally watchable movies that defined romantic comedy in the ’90s (and didn’t star Roberts and Gere).

7. Goldie Hawn & Kurt RusselloverboardstillFilms Together: Swing Shift, Overboard

This could just as well have been Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin, but I’ll go with the pair that actually became a real-life couple and were one of the strongest romantic comedy duos of the 1980s. Their biggest film was Overboard, not-so-coincidentally directed by Garry Marshall. In the movie, Hawn plays a rich bitch who  tells off the carpenter installing something in her boat (Russell) and doesn’t pay him for his work. She later turns up in the water with amnesia (but not like Jason Bourne). To get back at her when she awakens, he tells her she’s his wife. Hawn was one of few major comedians in her day. Her modern-day successor some might consider her daughter, Kate Hudson, but set to star in one of Hawn’s old roles in a remake of Private Benjamin is expert ditz actress and blondie, Anna Faris.

6. Audrey Hepburn & Peter O’ToolehowtostealamillionFilms Together: How To Steal A Million

Here’s one of those one-time collaborations I mentioned: two Oscar winners and multiple nominees converging for one silly heist comedy from one of the greatest directors (and the man who discovered Miss Hepburn), William Wyler. Hepburn would be most famous for her breakout part in Roman Holiday opposite Cary Grant as well as her iconic role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. O’Toole will leave a legacy as a dramatic actor thanks to Lawrence of Arabia and some great Shakespearean roles, but he had some great comedy success such as with 1982’s My Favorite Year. Both, however, had a great sense of humor as all the best always do.

Look back first thing tomorrow for Part 2, it’s got some great ones!

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